Pompey chief expecting '˜busy' summer

Mark Catlin is anticipating a busy summer as Pompey's drive to strengthen gathers momentum.

Friday, 27th May 2016, 7:00 am
Free-agent Duane Holmes has been released by Huddersfield

Within 12 hours of the heartbreaking play-off elimination at Plymouth, the Blues refocused on recruiting for another promotion push.

Chesterfield’s Jay O’Shea has already been identified, with two bids so far rejected by Paul Cook’s former club.

Free-agent Duane Holmes, formerly of Huddersfield, has also been eyed, while ex-loan strikers Marc McNulty and Michael Smith continue to be long-time targets.

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Catlin insisted Cook’s budget has not been reduced, while money generated from sales – such as Adam Webster – will be used to bolster the finances at the manager’s disposal.

As chief executive, he is already in contact with a number of clubs over players Pompey covet.

And Catlin expects there to be plenty of work to plough through in terms of recruitment as the summer progresses.

He said: ‘I think it will be busy this summer.

‘However, we will not publicly comment on any transfers, in or out, until the ink has dried on a contract. That is in common with almost every other club in the Football League.

‘We have had massive, massive progress this season, the league standards and cup runs prove that, it is factual.

‘Admittedly, we have fallen slightly short, so it is a case of trying to strengthen and continue to improve this coming season.

‘Paul has given us a long list of targets and we are currently investigating their availability and the cost.

‘These players are for all different levels and we are busy exploring them.

‘If they are with a club you make contact with that club, if not with a club you are speaking to their agents. Over the next few weeks we will sit down with Paul and give him all the facts and figures of each individual deal.

‘Then it will be up to him what button he presses.

‘As long as it is within the budget set by the board, it is the manager’s decision who he gets.’

At present, Brian Murphy is the only first-team member to leave Fratton Park during the close season.

Matt Tubbs, Kal Naismith and Adam McGurk have been transfer-listed, identified as players to move on and generate potential fees as well as freeing up wages.

And Catlin is adamant Cook’s budget continues to remain competitive, without reduction.

‘Being a fans-owed club, we run with a neutral budget,’ added the Blues chief.

‘You always err on the side of caution for the coming season. You try not to take into account player sales, you try not to take into account cup runs because you just don’t know if they are going to happen.

‘The budget and conditions are the same as last year, but as events develop over the season – and possibly pre-season in regards to players – then the board will look sympathetically at improving that budget.

‘It is not a reduced budget and it is fair to say we continue to support and look to improve on the pitch wherever we can.’